I find that when I start the morning with my almost therapeutic, handmade (or craft) daily coffee ritual, it serves as a reminder and sets the tone for trying to be more present throughout the rest of the day. By design, handmade coffee requires a bit of extra time and patience — but the results are well worth it (and it makes me feel like a coffee superhero).
My love for coffee started during my college days in Bloomington, Indiana. Back then, it was undoubtedly more about the creative atmosphere and seemingly underground café culture that drew me in. Shout out to The Runcible Spoon, which I'm told still exists today. I hope they still have goldfish hanging out in bathtubs near the register (because why not, right?).
Fast forward a few years to when I spent time traveling throughout Europe — this is where my fascination for an artfully-made and decadent espresso truly began and I haven't looked back since. In Italy, I picked up my cherished Bialetti Moka Pot with the iconic "little man with a mustache" — and it's been my go-to wedding or housewarming gift ever since. I've been on a mission to convert all of my friends into moka lovers.
Today, I switch off between a French Press and the Moka Pot — and typically use a hand-crank grinder because sometimes taking it old school just feels fun (and admittedly because it annoys my kids, who don't see the point in using anything without a lithium battery or plug).
Anyone that knows me (for better or worse), is familiar with my need to go "all in" on my obsession du jour. Sparked by an upcoming brunch that I have planned for some friends, I decided to kick my coffee obsession into high gear and embark on becoming a self-proclaimed home barista.
I did a bit of research and came across a coffee training center nearby and I knew that this was the start of my journey to becoming a legit coffee aficionado. They had me at their name — Counter Culture Coffee (CCC) — located in a lofty space in Chicago's west side. They specialize in professional development classes for baristas, but lucky for me, they also host a "Home Brew" class.
I grabbed a few like-minded friends and we set out to begin making perfect coffee. Our instructors, Nick Kohout and Jeffrey Batchelder, started with a passionate overview about where our beans come from. Because CCC is a roaster and distributor, they take great pride in working one-on-one with individual farmers and co-ops alike to tackles issues like climate change, processing and roasting — all variables that affect the quality once it reaches our table.
Then they spilled the beans on the basics for making a great cup of coffee using a variety of specialty coffee brewing methods. The trick is deciding which method is right for you — but I've found that each one has a special place in my heart depending on the circumstances.